Wellness in the WorkplaceJanuary 26th, 2012 | Food for Thought, Industry News | 1 Comment »
There are many investments a company must make to stay operational. Your employees, the building blocks and foundation of any organization, are generally the biggest of those investments. When trying to decrease overhead and spending, a business owner may turn to internal finance as a means of reserving resources. Generally personnel compensation is not something that can by trimmed down. However, their insurance costs are a whole other story! Employers can lessen their overhead, by encouraging healthy lifestyles, while not compromising employee medical benefits or compensation!
Health insurance is another area where, like employee salaries, companies cannot skimp. To keep competitive benefits while saving money, many companies are moving toward Employee Wellness Programs to earn insurance incentives. Employees are able to participate in everything from on-site exercise facilities and in office Pilates, to weight loss and smoking cessation classes which in turn puts health insurance premiums on the steady decline.
Encouraging a healthy workplace is not necessarily a new idea. Rather, it has been an ongoing struggle for employers to prove statistically to insurers that the implementation of wellness programs will actually save them money. More recently, it seems, the insurance companies are starting to come around, admitting that wellness programs do have merit, and are even starting to create programs of their own. At this stage in the development of Employee Wellness Incentive Programs, insurers are more apt to lower premiums when employees participate in programs that they sponsor, rather than programs created by their clients. For instance, Blue Shield of California offers “Healthy Lifestyle Rewards” to its client’s employees. The program offers cash and prize incentives to participants who fill out health questionnaires and display a healthy behavior.
Even if your medical insurance provider does not offer an incentive plan, there is still money to be saved by encouraging healthier lifestyles. Several studies have shown that companies save about three dollars for every one dollar spent on health and wellness programs. It is also common knowledge that daily exercise and a healthy diet, create a more active, energetic and focused person. Offering fruit in the break rooms, free fitness programs and in-office incentives for healthier behavior will improve over all employee performance and morale. Healthy employees will get sick less often, which means less absenteeism and more productivity for your company! Increased employee morale will generate a lower turn-over rate and higher employee retention, which will cut valuable resources spent searching for replacement personnel!
There is no arguing that wellness programs are a good investment. Whether your intentions lie in attaining lower insurance premiums, increasing employee retention or simply encouraging healthy behaviors, the benefits of a Well Workplace are limitless!
-By Megan Oldag